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After just five sessions, Scottish climber Will Bosi has made the first ascent of Honey Badger, a 22-move problem at Badger Cove in the Peak District. He proposed the grade V16, which would make it the third of the grade in the UK alongside Aidan Robert’s Superpower and Isles of Wonder Sit.
Honey Badger travels through the middle of an 80-degree cave. Bosi estimates it breaks down into a seven-move V11/12, followed by a five-move V12/13, and then some bicep-intensive moves before joining the upper crux of Rampant Rabbit (V9). The topout is scary, too, with loose rock and the potential for some serious airtime.
“This is by far the hardest boulder problem I have done to date, and one of the best,” says Bosi. “The climbing is so varied throughout, from technical at the start, through to raw power, and eventually hanging on for dear life at the end!”
Bosi, 23, has had one heck of a year. He’s put down 10 V15’s, including the first ascent of Beautiful Mind at Badger Cove. His bouldering ticklist rounds out his other accomplishments, including a tick of King Capella (5.15b), at Siurana, Spain, and the first ascent of Free at Last (5.15a) at Dumbarton, Scotland.
Bosi developed Honey Badger with the assistance of local bouldering legend Ned Feehally, co-founder of the popular Beastmaker climbing company. “Ned is so experienced in developing amazing new lines, and it was a privilege to have him along to guide me through the process,” says Bosi. Feehally helped clean the line but didn’t try the boulder—he and his wife Shauna Coxsey have had their hands full with their newborn daughter.
Honey Badger’s crux move comes early and involves a tension-dependent deadpoint from a thin crimp to a two-finger pocket, but the hard moves continue from there. “From the bottom, I fell after the crux move about three times before the full send. … I always made the slightest mistake which brought me straight off the wall,” says Bosi.
Commenting on the grade, Bosi says it felt like it was a step up from the previous V15’s he’s done. He adds, “But the margins at this top level are so fine; I would happily be persuaded otherwise. Hopefully, I get the opportunity to try some other boulders at the grade and I can start to get a sense of where it is, but for now I will leave it at 8C+ and hopefully some strong climbers will come and give it a go.”
Next up for Bosi is more training. He’s focusing on preparing for a winter trip to Arco and more local bouldering once temperatures improve. “Hopefully in 2023 I can get out to the U.S. to explore some of the classics out there.”